This is How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam

This is How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam


In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we put together a guide for how you can conduct a breast self-exam from the comfort of your home

Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is a terrifying prospect, but it is a reality for thousands of women. And with the Philippines considered the frontrunner for breast cancer mortality in Asia, it is clear that early detection of the disease is of utmost importance. One such measure you can take from the comfort of your home is a monthly breast self-exam. Breast self-exams are quick and simple procedures you can do to check your breasts for abnormalities that could be early signs of the disease developing.

RELATED: Here’s How You Can Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer in 5 Ways

That being said, remember that it is not a substitute for a clinical breast exam performed by your doctor. Instead, think of self-examinations as ways to familiarize yourself with your breasts so that if changes do occur, you can inform your doctor immediately about the next steps. Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about how to examine your breasts and underarm areas for subtle abnormalities.

Step 1: Visually examine your breasts

How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam

Standing in front of a mirror, visually note changes in your breasts in terms of size, shape, color, and texture. Do this with your hands at your sides then again with your arms raised so that you can spot abnormalities more clearly. Look out for skin dimpling, visible lumps, nipple discharge, redness, and swelling.

Step 2: Inspect your underarms

Breast Self-Exam guide

The underarms should also be part of your inspection. For this step, press down on each of your underarms and the surrounding areas to check for lumps and swelling. Do this standing up and while looking at the mirror.

Step 3: Lie flat and probe your breasts

Breast Self-Exam

For this last step, it is recommended that you lie down somewhere comfortable so that breast tissue spreads out more evenly, which is particularly important for women with larger breasts. While lying down, press down lightly on each of your breasts using a circular motion to check for lumps and other changes. Don’t forget to check your nipples and areolas as well for abnormalities, such as pain, redness, skin irriation, and discharge.

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